Energy Saving and Efficiency

   31 October 2017

Photovoltaic, + 30% energy using sun lost between panels

Good news for photovoltaics: a team of researchers from Michigan Technological University of Queen’s University, Canada, has found a way to increase the amount of light reflected on the panels and increase up to 30% more energy production. The ‘trick’, scientists explain in a study published in the Journal of Photovoltaics, is able to capture even the light, today wasted, that ends up in the space between the row of panels. In photovoltaic systems, in fact, the various modules are spaced apart to avoid shading; in this way, however, when the sun hits the system, a good percentage of potential energy is lost, because the light ends up in the area between the rows of photovoltaic modules. For the researchers, the solution is simple: fill the space between these panels with a reflector, so as to bounce the sunlight on the panels. Today, however, the spotlights are rarely used because the temperature changes and the uneven radiation that they produce on the panels cancel the guarantee of the photovoltaic modules. This is less because of the uncertainty about potential hot spots. However, scientists believe they have found a way to predict the effects of the reflector through the bidirectional reflectance distribution function, a function already used in film and video games, which allows one to predict how light will disperse. The researchers tested the reflectors in a photovoltaic system in Kingston, Ontario, discovering that in the case of standard panels, not inclined at the optimal angle, the increase in efficiency has reached 45%; in the case of panels already sloping optimally, efficiency increased instead of 18%, but the researchers are convinced that this percentage can rise to 30%. Source: